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[Beijing Forum 2019] Peking University President Hao Ping's speech at the opening ceremony

NOV . 11 2019
 Speech at the Opening Ceremony of
Beijing Forum 2019
Hao Ping, President of Peking University
November 1, 2019 (Friday), 15:30 p.m.
Grand Ball Room, Fangfei Garden, Diaoyutai State Guesthouse

Honorable H.E. Yang Jiechi, Member of the Political Bureau of the CPC Central Committee and Director of the Office of the Foreign Affairs Commission of the CPC Central Committee,

Honorable Chairman Han Qide, Vice-Minister Tian Xuejun, Secretary Wang Ning,

Leaders, guests, scholars,

Ladies and gentlemen,


Good afternoon!

“Do not forget of a year the loveliest scene, when oranges look like gold and tangerines jade-green.” Today, in this golden season of autumn, Beijing Forum (2019) officially kicks off.

Sixteen years ago, when the Beijing Forum was inaugurated under the auspices of Peking University, Beijing Municipal Commission of Education and the Korea Foundation for Advanced Studies, it proposed in the Beijing Declaration that “through the efforts of our generation and the one that follows, the peoples of the world will come together in understanding and cooperation, in wisdom and peace.” Scholars, especially those from Peking University, expressed their good wishes for cherishing and safeguarding world peace. Over these years, despite the ups and downs of the world, Beijing Forum has adhered to the ideal and belief of exchanges and mutual learning among civilizations and a community with a shared future for mankind. Under the banner of “The Harmony of Civilizations and Prosperity for All”, it has been advocating harmonious inter-civilizational dialogues across academic, ideological and cultural spheres, and promoting academic exchanges and development in the Asia-Pacific region and beyond, as well as advancing social progress.

Over the past sixteen years, Beijing Forum has held 148 panel sessions across 20 subjects, as well as about 1,500 seminars and dialogues. So far, upwards of 6,000 celebrities and experts from more than 70 countries and regions have come to the Forum. Former UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon delivered opening speeches by video for the Beijing Forum for eight consecutive years. Former UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan, former US President George Bush, former British Prime Minister Tony Blair and other political celebrities, and Roger Myerson, Amartya Sen and other five Nobel laureates in economics, as well as Avram Noam Chomsky, Member of the National Academy of Sciences and other noted scholars have attended the Forum. UNESCO has also offered substantial support for the event.

Now, amidst the convergence of civilizations and the exchange of ideas, Beijing Forum has developed into a high-end academic conference and an important academic brand with distinctive characteristics, international reputation, and considerable achievements. Here, we would like to pay high tribute to Beijing Municipal Commission of Education and the Korea Foundation for Advanced Studies for their co-sponsorship of Beijing Forum, as well as to the experts and scholars who have participated in this event over the years. It is its diligent exploration of academic knowledge and truth that has earned Beijing Forum wide recognition and a continuation of its ideas about “The Harmony of Civilizations and Prosperity for All”.

We believe that the brand value and spiritual richness of Beijing Forum, built over the sixteen successful years, can be categorized in the following ways:

First, Beijing Forum has always shown care for human destiny and concern for human civilizations, building a bridge between academic research and real-life problems. Over the years, it has been playing a constructive role in addressing the challenges that confront the world through meticulous and profound discussions. It has even been described as an “Olympiad of the Academic Community”, where scholars in the humanities and social sciences from all over the world conduct numerous discussions on promoting inter-civilizational exchanges. Many of the discussions have displayed a humanistic spirit, carried insightful perspectives and brought forth new ideas. The scholars depicted a shared future based on equity and cooperation when it came to politics; they advocated poverty eradication, common prosperity, and happiness for all when talking about economy; they reminded us of the importance of justice in history, self-awareness of culture and convergence of civilizations when looking back on history; they emphasized, when philosophy was the subject, the meaning of life as the origin of all things, an equal right to subsistence as a common aspiration, and the harmony among civilizations as the ultimate goal; they called for a diversified and harmonious world when social progress was needed…

In addition, Beijing Forum has included a student session to encourage youth exchanges about the humanities, enabling them to explain how they see and perceive the world, and to look out for people’s future.

Second, Beijing Forum has always been dedicated to promoting inter-civilizational dialogues and exchanges in international academia, allowing the world to know China better, and vice versa. As pointed out by President Xi Jinping at the Conference on Dialogue of Asian Civilizations, “People are the best bridge for exchanges and mutual learning among civilizations. Closer people-to-people exchanges and mutual learning, for that matter, is a sure way to eliminate estrangement and misunderstanding and promote mutual understanding among nations.” Beijing Forum has adopted a new concept of civilization and belief that all civilizations are equal. While showing full respect for Western civilizations, it has never compromised on Eastern core values and has exposed the world to the wisdom of the East. Beijing Forum has opened its doors and embraced dialogues among different civilizations. It fixes its eyes not only on China, but also on the entire world as a community with a shared future.

Third, Beijing Forum has always regarded civilizational harmony as the theme of our times, focusing on the changing world and looking out for people’s future. Every year, Beijing Forum has chosen a topic of real-life relevance, brainstorming ideas around global hotspot issues. It has faithfully recorded a world that has been changing over more than a decade as manifested by the deepened exchanges and mutual learning among civilizations, the world order shifts, a renewed global landscape, and our progress amidst challenges. This has also been incorporated into our theme and the agenda of panel sessions this year. It is clear that in an age of reform, transformation, challenges and reconstruction, the changes facing us are becoming increasingly global and holistic. We must adapt to these changes, standing up against difficulties and challenges through stronger cooperation and enhanced exchanges among civilizations. To that end, we must further strengthen international cooperation, promote joint efforts between governments, society, universities and enterprises, as well as exchanges and collaboration across various disciplines. More innovations will be forthcoming through such integration and convergence. Beijing Forum will continue to stick to the global concept of governance by consulting together, contributing together and sharing together, and will also strive to build a community with a shared future for mankind.

In conclusion, I wish Beijing Forum 2019 a full success! I hope you will all have a nice stay on the campus of Peking University in this golden autumn season! Thank you!